Samsung T5 Review: A Tiny, Fast, and Secure Portable SSD

The Samsung T5 Portable SSD is very compact and light. In fact it weighs about the same as one of its included USB cables.
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Samsung T5 Portable SSD is very compact and light. It weighs about the same as one of its included USB cables.

The Samsung T5 Portable SSD is a much faster version of the T3 drive that came out two years ago. It’s one of the fastest portable drives on the market.

If you’re looking for a secure, sturdy, compact and super-fast storage device to use on the go, the T5 an excellent choice.

Samsung T5 Portable SSD

8.4

Performance

9.0/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Super-fast performance
  • Compact and sturdy design
  • Mac- and Windows-compatible right out of the box
  • USB-C and USB-A cables included
  • Easy to use security feature

Cons

  • The 3-year warranty is a bit short
  • No higher capacities than 2TB

Samsung T5 Portable SSD: Compact and sturdy design

The T5 looks almost the same as the T3 and shares the same features. Appearance-wise, the two are different only in colors. The T5 comes in black (1TB and 2TB capacities) and blue (250GB and 500GB capacities), whereas the T3 has a two-tone silver and black look.

The T5, too, has built-in hardware 256-bit AES hardware encryption. You can use an included software utility to encrypt the drive and enable its password-based protection. Keep in mind that if you forget the password, your data is no longer accessible. There’s no way to fix that.

Samsung says the drive can withstand drops from up to 2 meters (6.6 feet). I threw it a few meters in the air and let it drop on a hardwood floor a few times, and it was fine. Still, though, like all storage devices, you’re supposed to handle it with care.

Samsung T5 portable SSD’s hardware specifications

USB-C with real USB 3.1 speed

The T5 has one USB-C port but includes both a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-A cable, allowing you to use it with new computers that have USB-C (or Thunderbolt 3) port as well as those with the regular USB-A port.

You only need one cable to use it. Like most portable drives, the T5 is bus-powered, meaning it draws power from the host computer via the data cable.

It’s important to note that the T5 features USB 3.1 Gen 2 that has the top speed of 10Gbps, not to be confused with USB 3.1 Gen 1 (often referred to as USB 3.0) which is half as fast.

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The drive works with USB 2.0, but you need it USB 3.1 Gen 2 to get the most out of its performance. Most new computers feature USB 3.1 Gen 2.

Samsung T5 Portable SSD’s detail photos

Samsung T
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Samsung T
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Samsung T
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No setup necessary

Out of the box, the T5 is preformatted in exFAT file systems and therefore works right away with both Macs and Windows computers, interchangeably. All you need to do is take it out of the box, plug it into a computer using one of its USB cables.

Mac users take note: exFAT doesn’t support Time Machine backup. For that, you’ll need to reformat it into a Mac native file system. Check out this post if you need help with reformatting.

If you want to use the drive’s security features, open the drive and run the preloaded “SamsungPortableSSD_Setup” software which will take just a few seconds to complete. If you want to use this feature on an Android device, the software is available here.

Samsung T5 Portable SSD’s performance

Performance is by far the best selling point of the T5. Thanks to the support for USB 3.1 Gen 2, the T5 proved to be significantly faster than the T3 and one of the fastest non-RAID portable drives, if not the fastest, on the market.

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I tested the 1TB capacity and it had sustained copy speed of some 370MB/s for writing and more than 450MB/s for reading. To put this in perspective, at this speed, you can copy a Full HD movie (some 10GB of data) onto the drive in less than 30 seconds.

I tried the drive with older USB ports (USB 3.0 and USB 2.0) and it worked, too, but, as expected, at a lower speed. With a USB 2.0 port, for example, it topped at around 40MB/s.



Conclusion

Though sharing the same design and features, the Samsung T5 is a significant improvement over its predecessor in terms of performance. Impressively, it’s also less extensive than the T3, making it a better choice and an excellent investment.

You can’t go wrong with the Samsung T5. However, if you’re looking to spend a little less, consider the WD My Passport SSD which is not as fast but similarly compact and has the same security feature.

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